Supreme Court moved to take action against Google, YouTube
By: Umar Cheema
ISLAMABAD: A petition has been moved praying the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a suo moto notice of the illegal activities of Google search engine in Pakistan and its subsidiary YouTube that uploaded a blasphemous video sparking violence and causing damage to the property worth millions.
The petitioner has prayed directing the Google to pay compensation for the loss incurred in Pakistan due to its insensitive conduct, and legal action for illegally using ‘Pakistan’ on its web portal without being registered here.
The applicant, Dr. Kamil Tarar, an IT expert and research editor of TelecomPlus, has submitted that Google does not have any agreement or legal permission from Pakistan for conducting business operations here, yet it earns six million dollar per annum but does not pay a single penny in taxes here.
Now when this unregistered search engine has caused colossal loss, there is no way to hold it accountable and demand compensation for the loss resulted due to its insensitive contents uploaded on YouTube.
“Google is generating business annually without any financial benefit to FBR since years in the form of central leviable taxes and duties which are being evaded with impunity,” reads the application. The petitioner prays that the government should be asked to clarify whether there is agreement or legal permission exist with the search engine.
“It is worth mentioning that Google is operating in Pakistan without any lawful authority and due to this government has no check and balances in place,” reads the petition. Consequently, the government cannot ask for any explanation or query except by blocking its access through Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
If Google has not entered into any legal and formal agreement with Pakistan, the applicant notes, why is this search engine using the name of Pakistan to brand its Pakistan-specific web portal by the name ‘Google Pakistan’ both in English and Urdu. The web address of the search engine for Pakistan reads ‘www.google.com.pk’.
By using the word ‘Pakistan’ in the title of its web portal, reads the petition, Google, is creating the impression that the portal is carrying out its operations with the approval of the government. “It appears that, by using the word ‘Pakistan’ in the title of its web portal, Google has violated intellectual property rights,” said the petition.
The petitioner said keeping in view the public anger on the said 14-minutes trail of blasphemous film, he had approached Pakistan Telecommunications Authority on September 13 requesting the blockade of the YouTube, no action was taken resulting in huge lives and financial loss following the violent protests.
The petition has prayed that the government should be directed to take appropriate legal action against Google in the United States of America for unlawfully using the name ‘Pakistan’ on its web portal, branding its Pakistan-specific products and services for commercial gains and for deliberately evading tax liabilities out of trillions of rupees worth of income annually.
“It is very strange and abnormal that neither the government of Pakistan nor any of its departments has a clear cut verdict for the launching, commissioning, and operating of Google’s internet content access in Pakistan,” noted the petitioner.
The petitioner has sought direction to the government to collect taxes evaded so for by the Google and “also the losses in terms of precious lives of individuals massacred and valuable property destroyed “ due to its irresponsible behavior.
The petitioner has made party to Google’s representative in Pakistan, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, DG Intellectual Property Organization, Chairman FBR, Chairman Pemra, Chairman Board of Investment and Chairman Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan.